At the end of the 1900-01 season the club were forced to move from the Kensal Rise Athletic Ground because the landlord terminated the lease. Largely thanks to one of the Club’s Directors, T. R. Eagle, the R’s, or I should say the Royalists as they were then, moved to a new ground somewhere off of St. Quintin Avenue near Latimer Road.
This move in 1901 was not approved by some of the local residents. In response to this, a Rangers fan from Notting Hill wrote the following letter, dated 4th September, which appeared in the Kensington News & West London Times:
‘Sir, – What is the meaning of the prevailing rumours, that there is a coterie of individuals in North Kensington who are determined to prevent the Queen’s Park Rangers Football and Athletic Club retaining the ground they have acquired in Latimer Road for their football matches ?
One would think that those who had the interests of the northern part of the borough at heart would welcome the advent of a club which is anxious to provide exhibitions of a popular game for the enjoyment of the residents of the district.
Yet, if what I hear is true, there are a few old-fashioned individuals who have banded themselves together to try and put a stop to the introduction of professional football in the borough, because they say it would bring in its train a large number of undesirable characters. But, sir, is that likely ?
I have taken considerable interest in the doings of the Rangers in former years, and my experience has been that those who take pleasure in watching their play, are not people likely to disturb any neighbourhood by unseemly conduct, but who delight in watching an exciting contest between two well-trained teams of footballers merely for the innocent pleasure they get out of it, and because they think it is a splendid pastime beneficial to those who play, and interesting to lookers-on.
The Rangers’ new ground is an almost isolated situation, and even if there is a little natural excitement shown when the various matches are in progress, it is only for about an hour and a-half on each occasion, on an average once a week, counting home and away matches.
As the play gives pleasure to so many, why should two or three individuals step in and try to interfere ?
A Ratepayer – Notting Hill
This enforced move was certainly not ideal for the club. The condition of the pitch was very poor and apparently due to a lack of facilities the players had to change in the ‘Latimer Arms’ before running down the road to the ground, much to the delight of some of the local youngsters who couldn’t afford the penny admission.
During Rangers’ time there the ground was used for a large open air party to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward V11.
Those local residents unhappy at having a professional football club on their doorstep eventually got their way when their petition to the estate owner was successful. He duly served notice on the Rangers to leave at the end of the season.
One of the players, John Bowman, wanted to regain his amateur status, but changed his mind when he was offered the vacant position of Club Secretary and helped with the move back to Kensal Rise.
(The above pic is taken from my postcard collection and dates from around 100 years ago. Apart from the Kensington News, my other sources of reference include Dennis Signy’s 1969 book: ‘A History of Queen’s Park Rangers’ and Gordon Macey of course)